Riven Build Guide by cornarias

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League of Legends Build Guide Author cornarias

Riven: Reforging the Blade

cornarias Last updated on December 18, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 19

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 2

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Hello my fellow summoners and welcome to "Riven: Reforging the Blade". Riven is a powerful late game skirmisher. The majority of her power lies in her ability to enter and exit fights on a whim, dealing large amounts of damage in that time. She excels greatly in 1 versus 1 scenarios, small scale jungle fights, and quickly dispatching enemies. Though Riven has an awful early game, one of the worst in the game in my opinion, she makes up for it with an amazing late game. Her high combat mobility combined with her ability to burst and do sustained damage make for a powerful threat once properly itemized. As you may have noticed there are 2 guides. The first one The Skirmisher and The Fighter. Each one is situational depending on the game, and neither is 100%. Feel free to swap about any parts of the builds so that they work for you.

The Skirmisher (Team 1) focuses on entering a battle, causing chaos, and getting out multiple times throughout a battle. This way of building will take, in my opinion, a more skilled player with a mindset set more towards assassin. This build path excels in small scales fights as well as hit-and-run tactics. Positioning, timing, and battle analysis are key to playing this path properly

The Fighter (Team 2) focuses on staying in the fight as long as possible while dealing a good amount of sustained damage, burst damage, and surviving through it. This build lacks to mobility of the skirmisher and, though it has higher auto attack DPS, it lacks a number of things. It lacks important aspects of The Skirmisher such as the Banshee's veil magic resistance and passive, the mobility, the sheen damage increases, the sustain, and the burst.

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Pros / Cons


  • Mobile
  • Great late game
  • Brilliant in small scale fights
  • Good ganker
  • 4 small gap closers which double as escapes

  • Fairly squishy
  • Susceptible to CC
  • Hard to play correctly
  • Picky at the laning phase (great solo top but can struggle in 2v2's)

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Greater Mark of Strength: The best choice for helping her passive and sheild (and pretty much all her abilities). The Brutalizer, Sunder, and The Black Cleaver gives a nice amount of armor penetration/armor reduction and if you need more you could always swap out an item for the Last Whisper

Other options could include

  • greater mark of desolationGreater Mark of Desolation
  • Greater Mark of Might

Greater Seal of Resilience: Riven has amazingly low base armor, because of this it is best that you use flat armor yellows. These will aid your early game, mid game, and late game armor by a large margin. The boost in the laning phase, however, is the reason we use these.

Should you have these instead, they could work
  • greater seal of vigorGreater Seal of Vigor
  • Greater seal of Evasion
  • Greater Seal of Fortitude

Greater Glyph of Shielding: Magic resistance is something you need to stay alive during fights, without this mages will easily burst you down. I strongly suggest you stick to these runes. If you must, however, you could always use
  • Greater Glyph of Celerity
  • Greater Glyph of Focus

Greater Quintessence of Strength: These aid your early game by a very large margin when combined with your flat AD reds. I recommend these over other choices, though it's perfectly fine to select
  • Greater Quintessence of Might
  • Greater Quintessense of Fortitude
  • greater quintessence of desolationGreater Quintessense of Desolation

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By now you're all wondering about the items, aren't you? There's some weird stuff in there like The Black Cleaver and Boots of Swiftness. So Cornarias, you handsome and crazy devil you, why are these items up there? Well I will explain the seemingly stranger picks as well as my selection of Trinity Force for all the naysayers.

Mercury's Treads: IMPORTANT NOTE! Mercury treads are MUST against teams with even only 1 disable per person. Silences, snares, stuns, knock ups, knock backs, anything that can stop you from jumping around the fight will really shut you down. Consider these every game.

The Black Cleaver: Starting off with my selection of an item which doesn't have all that large an amount of AD as well as granting attack speed. Surely it doesn't have enough of one stat I want and another stat I don't want at all! Extremely untrue when playing either form of Riven. The damage is good enough to be useful whilst giving you an amazing passive. 15 armor reduction on hit to a maximum of 3 stacks. Weaving this ability in with your Q can be amazingly powerful as each consecutive Q/auto does more damage than the last, allowing you to perform a kind of mini-snowball in a fight. The attack speed, while not optimal on Riven, is still a great stat to have when waiting for cooldowns to reset in small scale fights.

Boots of Swiftness: Boots of swiftness are a great item on a high mobility assassin. The way I see this is that once you use your abilities you are a sitting duck, and since your Valor should, of course, be held onto so you can escape (assuming it's a large team fight) entry can be difficult without wasting an attack of Broken Wings. These also allow you for faster movement out of combat and more global presence.

Trinity Force:This item has been the subject of debate for many a conversation. Though it is true that getting The Bloodthirster gives more raw damage output, you get this item for its utility. Combined with the Boots of Swiftness you will reach 460 movement speed. You will gain a decent amount of health from this combined with Banshee's Veil, the slow proc and AD are also nice. It will also grant you some crit and attack speed along with increased burst. If you feel that you need more damage then simply get The Bloodthirster again or get an Infinity Edge.

Banshee's Veil: After further testing I found an item which, though not as good as the Banshee in most situations, is a great substitution against moer AD oriented teams. The Guardian Angel is a great item on her. In the heat of battle losing track of yourself can, and often will be, fatal. This beauty here will give you a second chance at life during those hectic team fights. It also doesn't have the downside of giving a fvew moer useless stats (which, I admit, Trinity Force does do with the mana and AP).
But Cornarias, what about Mercury's Treads? Well, personally, I find that if I am CC'd in the first place that I'm either going to die or not die. I have yet to feel the difference that they actually give me over other boots. Against high CC/magic teams you should always get these, of course. But in a well balanced game I find a Banshee's Veil to be enough assuming I play smartly.

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Summoner Spells

There are quite a few summoner spells available to Riven as she scales well from many things. The larger something is, the more I recommend it. There is a set section for summoner spells you should not get.

Ghost:With the mobility she has this is a great pick.
Flash:A must have with many champions, especially a close quarters fighter like Riven.
Ignite:Good utility against people with high regen, lifesteal, or the likes of Tryndamere. Also great for early kills which Riven can get in a good lane.
Cleanse:A great spell if you are scared of crowd control, especially when choosing the route of The Fighter.

Teleport:A good pick for any champion, but with your movespeed as The Skirmisher you should be fine for lane defense. As The Fighter there are usually other spells you need more.
Exhaust:The Skirmisher often doesn't need to stick to enemies long enough for this to be effective. The Fighter has amazing sticking abilities without the need for this. That's not to say it's a bad spell, though, as it can be amazing for laning.
Surge:As Riven you will be using abilities with great consistency so the attack speed buff isn't as useful as you'd like to hope. Though it's not quite useless so tier 2 is a good spot for it.
Heal:Generally a bad spell for non-supports, but it does offer lane sustain.
Clairvoyance:Similar to heal, as it should often be left for supports. This spell, however, can be useful if no one else has it. Often used late game for checking unwarded Barons.

  • Revive is killed by its cooldown.
  • Clarity is bad due to the fact that you don't have mana.
  • Fortify is best left to the tank/support as it doesn't help you in the least.
  • Promote is for supports and doesn't help Riven in any conceivable way.

Smite:From what I hear Riven is a decent jungler with some nasty ganks. This summoner is a must have for the jungle so I didn't include it anywhere else, primarily because this is a guide designed for laning.

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Tips & Tricks

For laning

  • Use Valor to dash in for last hits.
  • Use Broken Wings to escape more often than deal damage.
  • Do not use Broken Wings to farm waves this early, all you will do is push the lane.
  • Save Ki Burst for escaping/trapping champions.

For Ganking
For Team Fights
  • Wait until team fight has started.
  • Aim for the enemy carry, if unable then aim for the next strongest target.
  • NEVER use Valor to enter a team fight unless you need to and Flash is off cooldown.
  • Makes sure to activate Blade of the Exile before entering team fights.
  • If you get focused, use Ki Burst Then use all 3 uses of Broken Wings for the knockback. Then use Valor or Flash to escape.
  • If your target is 1-30% after your combo feel free to puruse so long as it's safe.
  • Always be aware for when the enemy begins to respond to your presence.
  • Remember: You are hit and run, if you don't succeed on the first attempt then escape and wait out your cooldowns.
  • Learn when autoattacking is a good course of action or not.

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I do hope that you thoroughly enjoyed that guide and that it was informative/helpful. I spent a large portion of my time constructing these two builds as well as creating this so constructive criticism would be preffered unless you fidn a glaring error in the guide. If you have any ideas for improvements please message me them or simply post them in the comments section. I hope you enjoy the hilariously fun and amazing champion that Riven is and that I helped you understand her better, leading you to further enjoyment. Check back every now and again as I may have updated a thing or 2.

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Change Log

September 16, 2011: Guide added!

September 16, 2011: Thankyou, Archemonde, for finding a number of serious errors I overlooked.

September 23, 2011: Updated a few things with the build path for Skirmisher and added "Banshee's Veil" to the item list.